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Aquatic Center re-financing efforts hit road block with city

Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

Shown, from left: Vandalia’s City Administrator Chase Waggoner and alderpersons Janet Turner and John Weiser during the monthly meeting.

Shown, from left: Vandalia’s City Administrator Chase Waggoner and alderpersons Janet Turner and John Weiser during the monthly meeting.

An ordinance was discussed but not formally approved to establish a City of Vandalia Facilities Improvement Authority.
City Administrator Chase Waggoner said it was needed due to the need to comply with Missouri state law in relation to the refinancing of the Vandalia Aquatic Center. Due to regulations in the Missouri state banking law, banks like Central Bank can not have direct interest in government owned property or assets.
This new authority would act as a non-profit entity that acts on the city’s behalf.
Alderman John Weiser noted that if it was “common” he said he didn’t remember having to do something like this in the past. He asked if there was a reason to be used to bypass using the non-profit. Alderman Weiser said “it’s almost avoiding the Sunshine Law but it’s not.” He noted that there will be three board members put on the authority, and the way it is written, they could serve as long as they want to.
The ordinance was drawn up by legal counsel utilized by the city in the past, who said this would be the mechanism needing to be used if using Central Bank of Audrain County.
It was noted that the city could choose to go with a different institution for re-financiing that would not involve setting up the non-profit authority, though the city would then not be able to get the same interest rate. No motion was made for the ordinance.
Vehicle grant
Aldermen did authorize the city administrator to accept a USDA grant for a police patrol vehicle. The 55/45 matching grant involves the USDA paying 55% of the cost of the vehicle and equip–ment. It will be $30,000 for the vehicle and about $10,000 for the equipment. The cost to the city is about $18,500.
Alderman Bob Dunn asked if there was a need for the vehicle.
City Administrator Waggoner said the pick-up truck will help officers on snow and ice, give the city a vehicle for hauling something like a dog cage that won’t mess up the other vehicles, and will be the only quad cab with seats that could be used later for hauling correctional workers.
Show-Me Heroes Program
Aldermen authorized the city administrator to sign the Show-Me Heroes Program. This program is a way for employers to demonstrate that they are a military-friendly employer. While the pledge does not require the city to exclusively hire veterans or service members, it does make the city eligible to have up to six months wages of a potentially hired veteran trained for a position covered by the state.
New Employee Pay Scale
City Administrator Waggoner said this item is something he’s been working on since starting with the city.
It was noted that a merit-based employee pay scale being used was established in 1996.
A change tailoring a system to the city’s needs would eliminate two vacant full-time positions (electrical lineman and public works laborer) and use those funds to increase employee wages to fit within the new pay scale. The result would be a pay increase for all employees minus the city administrator.
There were no intentions of filling that two positions as they had been vacant for some time.
The new system would involve “career pathing.”
Alderman Weiser noted that it could be looked at closer during budget time.
Mayor Ralph Kuda said it was not something to be implemented in this meeting but noted if something is done, it needs to be done right for the city’s employees.
It was noted that each department would have established career paths.
It was noted by Mayor Kuda that nothing should be decided on before knowing what the budget looks like for paying for it.
City Administrator Waggoner noted that the dollars being used are coming from two eliminated positions currently budgeted for but are vacant.
Mike Smith said he was thankful for the work put into how to better take care of the city’s employees but also said he just asks that something not be promised that can’t be delivered.
Health Insurance Provider
Staff recommended that the city choose the Lifestyles insurance plan from Missouri Rural Water Association members through the Mike Keith Insurance Agency.
This plan was chosen after reviewing 22 plan options from six different vendors. A decision was being looked at due to rates going up by 14.9% effective December 1. This would have raised the rates $33,316.08 per year.
The new company will cost the city just $17,992.92 more than last year. Meanwhile, out-of-pocket premiums go from 4.95% to 15.6% with the lowest percentage increase going to families. Employees in a special meeting favored a one-year trial period with Lifestyles.
The change was approved by aldermen.

Read the rest of the story in our December 21 issue or purchase an electronic edition at https://www.vandalialeader.com/subscribe/